YouTube, YouTube Terms of Service, Terms of Service, YouTube commercially viable

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Amid panic, YouTube says new terms of service won’t impact creators

A viral tweet stirred the creator community.


Brianna Stone


Posted on Nov 11, 2019   Updated on May 19, 2021, 11:15 pm CDT

Content creators have been freaking out because they believe YouTube’s new terms of service may delete accounts that don’t make money. But YouTube says otherwise.

Last week, YouTube announced its new terms of service that will take effect on Dec. 10. In the “Account Suspension and Termination” section of the terms, YouTube says: “YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.”

Monday afternoon, YouTube clarified what it meant by adding this section.

The “TeamYouTube” Twitter account responded to a tweet that claimed, “YouTube is probably over.” The company tweeted that the “commercially viable” section of the terms is about discontinuing outdated or low usage YouTube features and that it would not impact content creators.

Since the terms were announced, content creators—especially smaller creators who don’t have their channels monetized—have been worried that their accounts are doomed.

For a channel to become monetized, it must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours within a 12-month period.

The “commercially viable” section of the terms have been interpreted in several different ways online.

In its current terms of service, YouTube reserves the right to delete an account for violating its copyright policies or community guidelines, which includes content that is sexually explicit, hateful, violent, harassing, or spam. However, YouTube already has an “inactive accounts policy” that allows it to delete accounts that have been inactive for at least six months, have never uploaded a video, or that are not actively watching or commenting on other videos.

One speculation, posted to the YouTube Help community forum, is that YouTube’s new terms could be to help enforce this inactive accounts policy.

A theory circulating on Reddit is that YouTube seeks to remove users who have been using the platform for free storage—uploading several private or unlisted videos rather than paying for a storage service, such as Google Drive. Another Reddit thread speculates that YouTube updated its terms to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) regulation as a result of a recent settlement. In September, YouTube was ordered to pay $170 million to the FTC and New York for violating child privacy laws.

A petition created in 2016 to fire YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has resurfaced online since YouTube announced its new terms last week.

The petition, which claims that since Wojcicki became CEO in 2014 “things started [going] downhill,” has more than 56,000 signatures and has had a spike in support since YouTube’s new terms were announced.

TeamYouTube has been responding to several tweets from users who have interpreted the new terms as YouTube getting rid of content creators who don’t generate money.


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*First Published: Nov 11, 2019, 3:56 pm CST